Disclaimer: The information provided in this Q&A is accurate as of March 26, 2024, and is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Laws and regulations regarding Armenia’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) sector may change, and the information provided may not be complete or up-to-date.  For personalized legal advice tailored to your specific situation, please contact us. Our team can provide you with the latest information and legal insights to help you navigate the complexities of TMT law.

Q: What is the regulatory framework for telecommunications in Armenia?

A: Telecommunications in Armenia fall under the regulation of the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Electronic Communications. This law establishes guidelines and prerequisites for providing telecommunications services.

Similarly, the Law on audiovisual media governs the provision of television and radio services, as well as the ownership and use of relevant networks, radio frequencies, and television slots, including the licensing of private multiplex operators.

Q: Are there any restrictions on foreign investment in Armenia’s TMT sector?

A: No, Armenian legislation does not explicitly state that only Armenian companies can be authorized to provide telecommunication networks or services. Foreign investment in Armenia’s TMT sector is generally permitted, and there are no specific restrictions on foreign ownership or control of telecommunications or media companies.

However, foreign investors must comply with the relevant laws and regulations governing foreign investment in Armenia.

Q: What are the rules regarding the protection of intellectual property rights in Armenia’s TMT sector?

 A: Intellectual property rights in Armenia’s TMT sector are protected by the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Copyright and Related Rights and the Law on Trade marks, which establishes the legal framework for the protection of copyrights and other intellectual property rights in Armenia.

 Q: Is there a specific regulatory body overseeing communications-related services in Armenia?

 The regulation is conducted by two key entities:

The RA Ministry of High-Tech Industry and the RA Public Services Regulatory Commission, authorized by the RA Government.

For matters concerning audiovisual media, the Commission on Television and Radio serves as the designated authority.

The Law delineates the functions of the Competent body and the Regulator. The Regulator’s responsibilities include sector regulation, fostering competitive conditions, and ensuring service quality and compliance with other requirements.

On the other hand, the Competent Authority is tasked with developing and implementing state policies, along with other functions aimed at ensuring effective state operations.

 Q: Do they operate independently of government control?

 The RA Ministry of High-Tech Industry is an authorized entity of the RA government, functioning within its framework and being an integral part of the Government.

The RA Public Services Regulatory Commission is a quasi-constitutional autonomous state entity established under the RA law “On the Public Services Regulatory Body.” This body operates independently within its powers, adopting decisions based on the principle of independence.

The Commission on Television and Radio is an autonomous state entity, with its establishment and operational guidelines enshrined in the Constitution of RA. It functions independently.Top of Form

Q: What are the rules regarding competition and antitrust in Armenia’s TMT sector?

 A: Competition and antitrust in Armenia’s TMT sector are regulated by the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Competition protection, which prohibits anti-competitive practices such as monopolies, cartels, and unfair competition.

 Q: Are there any specific regulations governing cybersecurity in Armenia’s TMT sector?

A: Cybersecurity, specifically as a defense against digital attacks, is not explicitly regulated by law. The Ministry of High-Tech Industry circulated a new draft law on Cybersecurity on December 19, 2023. Given the absence of existing legislation regulating the sector in Armenia, we anticipate that this draft law will likely come into force.

Instead, the protection of personal data for individuals under civil law is governed by the RA Law “On Protection of Personal Data.” Additionally, the RA Law “On Electronic Communication” oversees the protection of data for clients of electronic services.

 Q: What are the potential consequences for breaching data protection laws in Armenia, and what is the maximum fine that can be imposed?

The maximum fine for a breach of data protection laws in Armenia depends on the nature of the violation:

Administrative sanctions: The highest fine is AMD 500,000 for violating rules related to destroying or blocking personal data.

Criminal sanctions: For more serious breaches, criminal penalties can include fines ranging from AMD 200,000 to AMD 500,000, or imprisonment for one to two months.

 Q: How does Armenia regulate the use of satellite communications in the TMT sector?

A: Satellite communications in Armenia are regulated by the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Electronic Communications, which sets out the rules and requirements for the use of satellite communications services and the licensing of satellite communications operators.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the importation of telecommunications equipment into Armenia?

A: Yes, telecommunications equipment imported into Armenia must comply with the technical regulations and standards set by the government of Armenia. Importers must obtain a certificate of conformity for their equipment before it can be imported and used in Armenia.

Q: How does Armenia regulate the use of electronic signatures and electronic documents?

A: The use of electronic signatures and electronic documents in Armenia is regulated by the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Electronic Document and Electronic Digital Signature, which recognizes the legal validity of electronic signatures and electronic documents that meet certain requirements.

The data for verifying electronic digital signatures is generated by either the signer or the certification center through hardware and/or software. The utilization of electronic documents and digital signatures is governed by the Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia and other relevant legal instruments. Restrictions on the use of electronic documents may be imposed by law.

Q: How is technology regulated in Armenia?

There is no comprehensive legislation that regulates technology in general in Armenia. However, specific areas where technology is utilized are regulated. For instance, the Law on Electronic Document and Digital Electronic Signature governs interactions with the state involving e-signatures. Additionally, regulatory bodies such as the Public Services Regulatory Commission, the Commission on Television and Radio, the Central Bank regulate specific aspects of technology within their respective areas, including electronic communications, radio frequency usage, and technology application within various sectors.

Authors: Hayk Hovhannisyan and Syuzanna Poghosyan

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